First International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste observed on 29 September 2020…
29 September 2020, Rome/Nairobi/New York – At the global event marking today the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and their partners urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste or risk an even greater drop in food security and natural resources.
Some 690 million people today are hungry and three billion cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger has been on the rise for the past five years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the food and nutrition security of up to an additional 132 million of people. On top of that, we are faced with an ecosystem decline and the consequences of climate change.
Yet, food continues to be lost and wasted. This year we have witnessed an increase in food loss and waste as a result of movement and transport restrictions due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 aside, however, each year about 14 percent of the world’s food is lost before even reaching the market. Food loss is valued at $400 billion annually – about the GDP of Austria. On top of this comes food waste, for which new estimates are coming out early 2021. When it comes to environmental impact, food loss and waste generate eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Food loss occurs from farm up to and excluding retail, whilst food waste occurs at retail, food service and household level. Causes range from poor handling, inadequate transport or storage, lack of cold chain capacity, extreme weather conditions to cosmetic standards, and a lack of planning and cooking skills among consumers.
Simply put, reducing food lost or wasted means more food for all, less greenhouse gas emissions, less pressure on the environment, and increased productivity and economic growth.
More about the event
The marking of the Day – under the slogan Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet – took place during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
The event was hosted by FAO and UNEP – the agencies leading global efforts on food loss and waste reduction together with Andorra, Argentina and San Marino who were instrumental in establishing the international day through a UN General Assembly resolution adopted unanimously last year.
Keynote speakers included: Luis Basterra, Argentina’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Maria Ubach Font, Andorra’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Luca Beccari, San Marino’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Economic Cooperation and Telecommunications; Bekir Pakdemirli, Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry; Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner, Health and Food Safety; Gilbert F. Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agriculture Development; Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme; Martien van Nieuwkoop, Global Director for Agriculture and Food, World Bank; and Chef José Andrés.
Keynote addresses were followed by two panel discussions – on food loss and waste and sustainability, and innovation.